Let’s listen to Pope Francis, in his message for the World day of the poor, 19th November. He writes:
“in myriad ways, poverty challenges us daily, in faces marked by suffering, marginalization, oppression, violence, torture and imprisonment, war, deprivation of freedom and dignity, ignorance and illiteracy, medical emergencies and shortage of work, trafficking and slavery, exile, extreme poverty and forced migration.
Poverty has the face of women, men and children exploited by base interests, crushed by the machinations of power and money.
What a bitter and endless list we would have to compile were we to add the poverty born of social injustice, more degeneration, the greed of a chosen few and generalized indifference! Tragically, in our own time, even as ostentatious wealth accumulates in the hands of the privileged few, often in connection with illegal activities and the appalling exploitation of human dignity…
We cannot remain passive, much less resigned. There is a poverty that dulls the sense of personal responsibility and leaves others to do the work while we go looking for favours. There is a poverty that poisons the wells of participation and allows little room for professionalism; in this way it demeans the merit of these who do work and are productive. To all these forms of poverty we must respond with a new vision of life and society”.
Let’s listen to some words of St. Jeanne Antide:
“The Sisters will serve the poor with respect, while seeing in them the person of Jesus Christ … with cordiality… with compassion, doing their utmost to mitigate their sufferings… with prudent commitment, fulfilling their duties towards them with great accuracy, with all their love and zeal according to their capabilities”. Rule of Life 1820
Let’s pray the Our Father, everyone’s Father, a Father who listens to the cry of the poor:
Father, you who are in the heart of every son and daughter.
Support our commitment to bless your name by being close to those who lack life necessities; to enhance the culture of the encounter by opening new paths to the presence of your Kingdom in our midst.
We ask for the bread that satisfies the basic needs of life; «our» bread, the bread of sharing, of participation and of common responsibility.
Bless the hands which open up to welcome the poor and to help them: such hands bring forth hope.
Bless the hands which go beyond every barrier of culture, religion and nationality by pouring the oil of consolation on the wounds of humanity.
Bless the hands which open up without asking anything in return, without «if», without «but» and without «perhaps»: the hands which attract your mercy and your blessing on all brothers and sisters. Amen.
Cf. Francis, Message for the first day of the poor, 2017